National Volunteer Summit 2011
VOICE Network invites Filipino and Foreign Volunteers, Volunteer Managers/Advocates, NGO & Government Agencies, Social Entrepreneurs and Student/Youth/Community Leaders to take part in strengthening volunteers across the country and enhancing its contribution to nation building. 

Join us in celebrating  the “gains of volunteerism” and in learning more “ways of volunteering” to advance community growth and structural reforms for development.

The National Volunteer Summit seeks to:
  • raise social awareness and promote the vital roles of volunteers in national development;
  • affirm sectoral contribution of volunteers in building authentic peace and human development
  • ecognize exemplary commitment and contribution of individual volunteers;
  • strengthen community of volunteers and
  • provide opportunities of partnership and networking among volunteer organizations, the business sector and the government agencies.
4th National Volunteer Summit
Mindanao has been called the ‘land of promise’ – and for good reason.  It has a rich cultural heritage that adds charm to its attractive ecotourism destinations.  Its fertile lands and ideal climate are a boon to agriculture, and it is an abundant source of cheap hydroelectric power.

Unfortunately, a long history of armed conflict – as well as political exclusion and neglect – has divided the ‘land promise’ into a land of plenty and a land of scarcity.  While cities like Davao, General Santos and the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor have become hubs of economic bustle, areas in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continue to endure a lack of access to jobs and basic services due mainly to intermittent outbreaks of armed conflict that have plagued the region for over 30 years now.

While there is broad agreement that the number of conflicts has been in steady decline since the mid-1990s, those that persist are protracted and continue to exact a terrible toll at community levels where development prospects are damaged, and civilians suffer death, human rights abuses, loss of livelihood, and displacement. What is more, ceasefire and peace agreements that have ended open violence in many conflict contexts are fragile.

Preventing or ending armed conflict, and building peace in its aftermath, pose enormous challenges.  These tasks require the combined effort, skills, resources and commitment of a wide range of individuals and organizations, both from within and outside of societies affected by conflict.

Among those who play a vital role, either directly or indirectly, in peace-building efforts in Mindanao (as well as elsewhere in the Philippines) are volunteers.

It is within this context that the 4th National Volunteer Summit (NVS) wishes to look into the efforts of volunteers in addressing peace-related issues.

Themed “The Role of Volunteers in Building Authentic Peace and Human Development,” the gathering of volunteers to be held in Cagayan de Oro on April 8-10, 2011 will feature discussions and present case studies on the challenges for volunteer engagement in peace and development, specifically the so-called peace collaterals, i.e., poverty alleviation, food security, good governance, human resource development, sustainable environment, socio-cultural heritage conservation, among others.

Volunteer Organizations Information Coordination and Exchange (VOICE) Network, the lead organizer/convenor of the NVS, will also launch Gawad Volunteer, which aims to give due recognition to volunteers who have rendered exemplary service.

Through a study tour of various volunteer service project sites in Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon, it is hoped that NVS participants will have a better understanding of how volunteers in Mindanao contribute, directly or otherwise, to the social capital that results in the creation of peace dividends they hope to give as a gift to the coming generations of Mindanaoans. 
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